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Sustainability in meetings and events
3 Min Read

Green, Greener, Greenest: Sustainable Event Management - Part 1

The natural environment sustains the life of all beings universally. - Dalai Lama

Sustainability is more than a marketing buzzword. It is about creating awareness of the responsibility we have towards our planet in order to be able to live on it in 10, 100 or 1,000 years from now. For our industry, sustainable event management means to plan and deliver events with social and environmental concern.

As sustainable event management started to become one of the key requirements in the events and exhibition industry, many event professionals have successfully implemented “green” strategies in their businesses.

Doing the right thing & boosting profitability

In December 2013, UFI published a report on sustainability in the exhibition industry (“Status of Sustainability in the Exhibition Industry”) revealing that "99 percent of exhibition organizers, venues and suppliers agree that the exhibition industry is concerned with the issue of sustainability. And while 39 percent of all companies have implemented sustainability across their organization, only one in five (20 percent) exhibition organizers have done so."

Wouldn’t it be great if you could act sustainably and reduce costs at the same time? Just think about the enormous waste of carpets at trade shows. International exhibition organizer UBM set a good example and started to manage several shows that do not have carpeting. Michael Duck, Executive Vice President, UBM Asia Ltd stated in an interview with Barry Siskind: “Before the carpets were just thrown into the landfill so we are not just doing the right thing, we’re also reducing cost which helps profitability.”

Encouraging exhibitors and attendees to act sustainably

It’s all about setting good examples. Why not encourage attendees and exhibitors to act socially and environmentally aware? In their “Sustainability Guide” for IMEX 2014, Regent Exhibitions presented a 7-step-approach on how show visitors and exhibitors can contribute to acting sustainably, for example, by ordering hydro-electricity to power their exhibition stands or by recycling their rubbish.

To support and promote sustainable practices in the industry, UFI appointed the “Sustainable Development Committee” whose members develop a series of actions to “inform, educate and promote sustainability among its members, including the development of an online education program and a new awards program recognizing best practices in sustainable development.”

It is good to see our industry is becoming increasingly aware of the importance of social and environmental responsibility and acknowledging sustainable event management practices.

In part 2 of this blog post, I write about green venues. In the meantime, I would love to hear your thoughts, comment and concerns on this topic. Connect with Ungerboeck on LinkedIn or Twitter, or email me: